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Security experts struggle in search for WannaCry clues

19 May 2017

Reportedly, as little as $55,000 was paid, which would account for fewer than 200 people. As of this writing, it's not been confirmed but researchers from Kaspersky Lab, Symantec and Google have found similarities in the WannaCry code and the code used in the North Korean attack against Sony Pictures from 2015.

We need to be less complacent about cyber protection.

"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call". The average ransom across all attacks known to security software provider Symantec in 2016 was $1,007.

Also, a gentle reminder that Microsoft is a business, not a charitable entity.

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How do I protect myself? Just like humans with infectious diseases, infected devices can spread their "viruses" to other devices. The main reason for that is the fact that medical data and personal health records can be sold to medical insurance companies for a significant amount of money. "That people are attempting to lay blame on the company says volumes about them, and about the curious view that some have of software vendors in general and Microsoft in particular".

"The operating systems on our computers and software downloads are managed centrally so that regular users can not download executable files from the internet without administrative rights", he said in an email. This is primarily because of using Microsoft's Windows XP, one of the operating systems most at risk, which is still widely used across the globe.

Of course, with anti-virus software, the same principle applies: Make sure to keep the anti-virus app up-to-date, too, so it blocks the latest emerging malware.

Microsoft has faced criticism since 2014 for withdrawing support for older versions of Windows software such as 16-year-old Windows XP and requiring users to pay hefty annual fees instead. The attack hit Microsoft operating systems and the company blamed the United States government's National Security Agency (NSA) for developing an exploit that led to the hack.

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Microsoft ended up distributing the free patch for the older versions on Friday - the day the ransomware was detected. The company believes many organizations may continue to be vulnerable to thread-level attacks that install backdoors, exfiltrate data and steal credentials.

Utilize antimalware and antivirus software tools and services.

"Even if the Shadow Brokers' claims were true, the liability and responsibility for the risk remain with Microsoft for developing inherently flawed operating systems that failed to minimise exploitable vulnerabilities by incorporating security-by-design throughout the developmental lifecycle of the software according to NIST 800-160". This would ensure that you do not succumb to ransom demands in hope of not losing important data. Thirdly, avoid opening any link from a suspicious-looking email. This was not even the most sophisticated malware around. Unfortunately, the only source for identifying the attack seems to be a single source - so, in other words, beware what you hear about it. When ransomware infects your computer, it encrypts all the data in the computer after getting activated by a central server. I recommend cloud services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Carbonite that automatically back up your files in real time on remote servers. Moreover, if one still refuses to pay, then the hackers delete all the encrypted files after seven days. This ransomware was different in that it spread of its own accord through unpatched systems (systems that had not followed recent warnings to protect against a virus and back-up their files) - as a worm. Any disaster that destroys your computer might also destroy any backups stored in the same building. "But the fact is that many or most of those affected by WannaCrypt had the chance to secure their systems and failed to do so".

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